I thought that might get your attention…!
It’s eighteen months since the death of David Rendel, former Liberal Democrat MP for Newbury from 1993 to 2005. His untimely demise was obviously a cruel blow for his family. In Newbury, we also miss him dreadfully in the Liberal Democrats. We lost a great friend. I lost a great friend. I miss his humility, his enormous wisdom, his integrity, his selflessness, his sense of humour, his encouraging smile, his endless energy and passion for liberalism.
Fortunately, shortly before his death, when asked if there was anything that the local Lib Dems could do in his memory, he expressed his wish. David was a great by-election afficianado. Indeed, he himself swept to victory in Newbury in 1993 in one of the most famous Liberal Democrat by-election victories in history. David was also a passionate mentor to many young people in politics. In his last months he said that he would like there to be some sort of fund in his name which enables young people who are interested in politics (and he specified that these young people would not necessarily be Lib Dem members, but perhaps broadly share our values) to be able to go to a parliamentary by-election and immerse themselves for several weeks in the campaign – getting involved in the campaigning. He particularly wanted such a fund to benefit those young people who, without such financial support, might not otherwise be able to travel to and stay at a by-election location.
So, those very committed folks at the helm of West Berkshire and Newbury Liberal Democrats have established The David Rendel Award. They have “cash to splash” on deserving young people who want to experience the thrill of a parliamentary by-election.
Here are the official details which tell you what to do if you, or young people you know, are interested in this great opportunity:
THE DAVID RENDEL AWARD
David Rendel was MP for Newbury from 1993 to 2005, winning the seat in a famous by-election with the largest majority ever attained by a Liberal Democrat. One of David’s key strengths was his ability to inspire other people, particularly young people, to become actively involved in politics.
West Berkshire & Newbury (WB&N) Liberal Democrats have established an Award in memory of David, which will provide support for someone who commits themselves to joining the Liberal Democrat campaign team in a UK Parliamentary By-Election. The support (maximum £1,000) might help the award-winner to travel to the locality of the campaign and to stay for its duration.
Application for an award should be made as soon as possible after a by-election becomes imminent. Applications should be made to the Convenor of the Award Committee (see below) and should cover:
• Brief details of the applicant and their relevant experience and interests.
• Why the applicant wants to be involved in a parliamentary by-election in support of a Liberal Democrat candidate.
• Names and contact details of two referees (not relatives) who may vouch for them.
• An outline of the travel, accommodation, subsistence and other expenses which the applicant would otherwise have to meet.
The Awards Committee is: Sue Farrant, Convenor (sue.r.farrant(enter @)gmail.com); Gerald Vernon-Jackson; Baroness Sal Brinton; Elaine Bagshaw; Treasurer WB&N Local Party.
Decisions on an award will be made by the Committee based on the merits of the application but bearing in mind the following preferences:
• Younger applicants (ideally below 26).
• Applicants who live in West Berkshire.
• Applicants who live in the South Central Region of the Party.
• Applications to assist a campaign being run in the South Central Region of the Party.
On conclusion of the campaign, the award-holder should submit a brief report, including an account of expenditure, to the Committee.